Jewish World Review August 12, 2011 / 12 Menachem-Av, 5771
What They're Not Teaching, and What They Are
By Greg Crosby
If you haven't already heard, Indiana state officials have announced that their schools will no longer be required to teach children to write in longhand. This is being done so that the kids can focus on their typing skills instead. Educators in Indiana have found teaching cursive writing deprived children of valuable time better spent staring at a screen. It will go into effect this fall.
Cursive writing is sooo very 20th century. Actually it is so very pre-historic to today. But in the future if Indiana kids don't learn how to write in long hand, how will they be able to sign their names, you know, to marriage certificates, and other legal documents? No prob. They can hire a person from another state. If eventually this trend gets picked up by ALL the states, then people may have to hire illegals to sign for them, or they can out-source their handwriting tasks to other countries. Or maybe people of the future will just make an X or draw a smiley face if they ever have to "sign" a contract.
Just think, no more penmanship. No more swirly lettered words. ( LOL.) "I think it's progressive of our state to be ahead on this," Denna Renbarger, assistant superintendent for Lawrence Township schools, told the Indianapolis Star. "There are a lot more important things than cursive writing." And I'm guessing Ms. Renbarger's statement was verbal, not hand written.
Sure, who needs handwriting? Cursive is as out of date as talking to people face to face. It's just so uncool to communicate in person with another human being. Handwriting skills? Ha! You might as well be teaching hieroglyphics. Hell, you might as well be teaching social manners and public courtesy.
While Indiana has stopped teaching handwriting, California will begin teaching something far more significant - the importance of homosexuality, lesbianism, and the transgendered in American history. This will be taught in pubic schools all across the state. The Fair Education Act passed out of the State Senate, the State Assembly, and Jerry Brown has signed it. Voila! It is now the law.
Also known as SB 48, the bill was authored by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). It will require that roles and contributions of LGBT Americans be included in school history curriculum in all history textbooks and in the classroom. This "teaching" will start as early as kindergarten, by the way.
How great is that? Now historians can begin "outing" American historical characters. Instead of teaching what people did, what they accomplished, what they invented, isn't it much more interesting to focus on their personal sexuality and what they did in their bedroom? Finally, we'll find out who of the founding fathers were really founding transsexuals. Hey, I always thought those powdered wigs they wore were a bit suspect anyway.
I'm glad we're finally going to start teaching the really important stuff in history classes since long ago we stopped teaching all those useless informational dates and events. Kids may not know why or when the American Revolution happened, but now at least they'll know what the lesbians and homosexuals were up to at that time.
The subjects of history and social studies have been neglected for a long time in our public schools. The results of that neglect have been brought to light by a recent study conducted by National Assessment of Education Progress. The pitiful results showed that only 20 percent of fourth-graders, 17 percent of eighth-graders and 12 percent of high school seniors were proficient on a nationwide test of history knowledge.
Few fourth-graders seemed to know why Abraham Lincoln was important, according to a story about the study in The New York Times. Less than a third of eighth-graders could say what advantages American soldiers had over the British during the American Revolution or why the United States entered World War I. And only 2 percent of the 12th-graders could say what social problem the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education sought to correct (many scholars consider this the Supreme Court's most important decision in 70 years).
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R.-Tenn., a former U.S. education secretary, says the test results point to an urgent need for a renewed emphasis on history and civics instruction in public schools. "For middle school and high school students, U.S. history remains our students' worst subject and we must do better," he said. "We need to return U.S. history to its rightful place in the classroom so that our children grow up learning what it means to be an American."
True, but the way things have been going in the California legislature, our children will learn not so much what it means to be an American as much as what it means to be transgendered, lesbian, or homosexual.
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© 2008, Greg Crosby